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Relativity and quantum mechanics with Silvan de Boer “I changed my perspective on the world by learning about relativity theory and quantum mechanics.”

In ATLAS, we have something called the personal pursuit. This allows us to pursue pretty much whatever we’re interested in. This can entail anything in terms of self development. Some have taken extra courses, some have taught at high schools, some have volunteered abroad. In this case, we’re looking at one student’s investigation in relativity and quantum mechanics.

At the beginning of ATLAS, I already knew that I was more interested in the technical side of things, so I wanted to deepen my knowledge of Physics.

For my Personal Pursuit, I first followed the course “Dynamics and Relativity” in the Physics department of the UT. I attended the lectures, made exercises and took the tests. For me it was interesting to see how different the ways of teaching was compared to ATLAS. It was a lot more individual and focused around the book that the course was based on. I did a lot by myself and independently.

Especially the part on Relativity Theory gave me a new perspective on the world. Before taking the course, I didn’t know about that part of physics before. Before, I was only familiar with Newtonian Physics. The course showed me that even though Newtonian Physics explains well with what we see and experience around us, the world it’s more complicated.

After that, I joined a course designed for 2nd year ATLAS students where we discussed quantum mechanics with each other and our teacher. I was interested in understanding the basics of quantum mechanics, because it’s elementary and represents where science stands at the moment. The focus of the course lay mainly on understanding the science behind quantum mechanics, and less on making actual calculations. I realized that the world is even more complicated than I had thought after following the course on relativity. The course was very interesting and broadened my view on the world. However, as opposed to the first course I took, it confronted me with a level of complexity that I wasn’t used to. The course was very complicated and challenging, and I had to adjust my way of learning and handling the course material.

Next year, I want to create, build or program something. I really enjoyed plain theoretical learning, but it’s rewarding to put your knowledge into a proper product, too.

University College Twente offers a unique bachelor’s programme, Technology, Liberal, Arts and Sciences, to top students. Visit the University College Twente website for more information about the college and Technology, Liberal, Arts and Sciences website for more information about the bachelor program. Or visit us during the open day, a student-for-a-day or an insight-day. For more information and stories about personal pursuits visit our personal pursuit website.

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